11 Replies Latest reply on Oct 8, 2011 8:55 PM by glen_w

    Tech Support for a 1:1 environment


      What does tech support look like for 1:1 computing at your school?  Do you have tech support that will work with students that are having issues with their computers?  Do you have loaners that students can check out until their computer is fixed?


      Share your solutions, comments and questions

        • Re: Tech Support for a 1:1 environment

          As my school prepares for 1:1, I eagerly anticipate any tips the Engage community has to offer!

          • Re: Tech Support for a 1:1 environment

            After visiting several model schools across the state (NC).  This is my vision of how we could create an effective help desk to provide support in a 1:1 school environment.  An elective course could be created in the high school that would provide technical support to students with technical issues.  Students from grades 9-12 would elect to enroll in the course.  A select group of students would be trained on how to replace screens, troubleshoot and fix basic computer problems while others would man the help desk providing technical support and determining if the problems can be corrected with a minor fix or if it should be looked at by the student technician.  A third group would work with computers under warranty and package and ship them back as needed.  A fourth group of students would substitute the student computer for a loaner until the computer has been repaired and returned in working condition.  A similar model to what I described is currently being practice in Mooresville High School, a model 1:1 school in North Carolina.

            • Re: Tech Support for a 1:1 environment

              Currently when a student laptop needs looked at by a school technician, they inform the classroom teacher that then turns in the IT ticket.  The Technician visits that classroom to collect the laptop for repair.


              Each building has designated a "check out" person that can handle simply checking out a couple of loaner laptops to that teacher for the student to use in that room while the other laptop is out of the room.  The "check out" person is not necessarily an IT person,  but someone in that building that can help with the loaner and is available.

              • Re: Tech Support for a 1:1 environment

                Tech support really varies from school to school.  Some "bigger schools" do have an adequate tech department, and as Doug has stated, the teacher submits an online work order and the tech follows up (timeline of follow-up varies). In some other, smaller schools, the secretary or a teacher may be the first level of tech support. If he/she cannot fix the problem then an outside tech support company is contacted.

                • Re: Tech Support for a 1:1 environment



                  I have a 2 student to 1 laptop environment. We have minimal tech support. I am responsible for making sure the laptops are correctly configured and running for my classroom (as well as the teacher across the hall.) If a computer no longer functions, I am able to access district technology for support. There are no "loaner computers" available. I also recently learned that if/when my computers no longer work, they are not funded for replacement by the district. I am interested in finding how schools in a 1:1 environment finance their program so I can develop a similar option at my school.

                  • Re: Tech Support for a 1:1 environment

                    Like Glen, I have a 2:1 student to computer ratio. We have a Help Desk in Austin ISD that has gotten better each year. We put in a heat ticket online and get a fairly quick response. The biggest issue I see whether or not end-of-life equipment will be replaced. Our mobile laptop carts finally died and were replaced with netbooks. The netbooks are satisfactory and easy to handle, although the laptops were more powerful. Our desktops are entering end-of-life. The won't be replaced and they may or may not be repaired. There are several things the netbooks can't do that the desktops can.


                    The other issue is teacher privileges. I hate getting the message, "Please enter admin password," or, "You do not have admin privileges," when I try to update or install software.

                      • Re: Tech Support for a 1:1 environment

                        Eric, I seem to have more similarities than I thought. My laptops are at end-of-life. I was informed that if/when a laptop dies, it will not be replaced. I also have the problem relating to teacher permissions. When updates come up on the laptops, I must request the technician install them for me. This becomes a large challenge when weekly updates arrive. I'm not sure how I can solve such these challenges ... but I'm not giving up.


                        I hope someone may provide me a suggestion on how I might persuade "the powers that be" to replace aged laptops.

                          • Re: Tech Support for a 1:1 environment

                            Good luck. I mentioned this in another thread that our district's help desk has improved a lot over the years and we get help pretty quickly. Nevertheless it would be really nice if I had the priveleges to do some of the work the help techs do. I put in a work order on a desktop that wasn't booting up properly. The tech came within two days and ran a process that I could've done myself with short training and the right password. As far as replacements -- that's tougher with the budget crunch our district (and, I guess, all districts) is in.

                              • Re: Tech Support for a 1:1 environment



                                I was able to do minor updates and installations on my computers until recently. My district switched the assigned tech person for most of the schools. The newly assigned tech removed my access rights and changed the access password. He told me I was to let him know when I needed help installing or updating items on student computers. You can only imagine how challenging it is to schedule work when my computers are not on the school rotation.

                          • Re: Tech Support for a 1:1 environment

                            Our school, in Victoria, Australia, moved to 1:1 for Years 7, 8 and 9 just 3 months ago. This meant that our Tech Support team, which was already managing 150 teacher laptops plus 300 student desktops, was now expected to provide technical support for an additional 900 student netbooks. Next year we will be going 1:1 for Years 10 and 11 bringing the total student netbooks to almost 1200. So the question of how we were going to effectively provide tech support for students loomed very large in our discussions leading up to the implementation of 1:1. What we came up with, which has now being running for 3 months, has proved effective and we have had few problems with tech support for students.



                            This system addressed the tech support needs of students and also provided much reasurrance for some teachers who were anxious about being expected to assist students with technical issues and others who were concerned about the potential loss of learning time dealing with login, network connections and other issues. Here is what we did:


                            1. Three months before introducing 1:1 we advertised among the student population for anyone interested in being trained to provide in-class technical support for their fellow students. (The response was overwhelming at all year levels and included boys (about 70%) and girls.)
                            2. We aimed to train at least 2 students per class, one boy and one girl when possible. Some classes had up  to 6 students who were trained.
                            3. The Tech Support team ran several training sessions with these students.
                            4. The training they received covered the most common technical issues. These included:

                            a) forgotten passwords

                            b) unable to connect to the network

                            c) unable to print

                            d) unable to connect to the Internet

                            e) security updates and issues (antivirus, spyware etc.)

                            f) managing backups

                            g) other common issues


                            It was not necessary to give students any special network rights. Issues that they cannot resolve are then reported, byt these students, to the college Tech Support team. Since this began, rather than being overwhelmed with student computer issues, almost all of these issues are dealt with in class by the student technicians. There has been very little pain associated with the implementation of the 1:1 program.


                            This is phase one. Phase two will be to develop a student run online HELP DESK. Also some students will be trained further for more difficult tech support.


                            That was our solution for this potentially nightmarish issue of tehnical support for large numbers of student netbooks.